Compassionate Caregiving and the Healing Power of Music


When Krysta Weik (an exercise physiology major from Lebanon, PA,) and Paige Bacigal (a nursing major from Campbell Hall, NY) signed up for the Compassionate Caregiving course at Saint Francis University they found themselves tapping into the healing power of music. 

Krysta and Paige

Kyrsta Weik (left), Paige Bacigal (right)

This course (Religious Studies 302) centers on the importance of compassion in health care. Students learn about the religious roots of compassion by reading sacred texts from the East and West, as well as a diverse set of illness narratives. Students are also charged with creating a community-engaged, service-learning project based on the course material to apply this new knowledge to their practice of caregiving.

Krysta Paige had previously taken a hand drumming course and learned of the therapeutic benefits.  Using their newly found percussion skill, they created a series of three virtual workshops for the residents of The Lutheran Home in Hollidaysburg. Life Enrichment Coordinator at The Lutheran Home, Ms. Jennifer Helsley, helped the series launch a successful start on April 9, 2021 with additional sessions offered the next two Fridays.  The students and residents had a great time and look forward to future workshops. 


zoom percussion workshop participants

1st photo Bill Adams (gray T-shirt, glasses)Middle photo Bill Ambrose, 3rd photo  Ken Woomer (blue shirt, glasses)  and  AJ McCullough (pink shirt)


Juliana Horvath, Saint Francis University Community Engagement Coordinator shared these thoughts on the project. “Many thanks to Ms. Helsley for working with our students and to the residents for their participation and great dance moves. Kudos to Krysta and Paige for using their talents to help bring joy into the lives of others.”